Fishing in Public

Problem List

So now we got Sunday morn, with a homemade cone and Superman on TV. What else can I say that’s happy? I’ll tell you tomorrow from the tackle shop. I’m scared the excitement will give me a heart attack!

I recently got my “Problem List” from Maine Med.: “Accidental drug overdose” … “Anxiety and depression,” “Brain atrophy …” “Cognitive changes,” “COPD … COPD exacerbation …” “History of alcohol use disorder” … “Insomnia,” “Opioid dependence in controlled environment…” “Psychogenic tremor,” “Tension type headache,” “Tobacco use.”

That ain’t even half of it. And I seen the doc again since then. He asked me ’bout anxiety. I told him, Well, my age and all midst the pandemic. I’m nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

But I can take care of that. I’m going fishing!

•••

Yes’sir, I took a bus out to Johnson’s Sporting Goods on Congo, right after the interchange of Congo, Park Ave. and the highway. You can’t miss it, really. I went to this place last year, so I kinda knew what to expect. ’Cept for the girl working behind the counter — that was new. A right friendly girl name of Carrie.

So she’s telling me sure ’nuff things had started pretty slow, like at most places in this pandemic, I expect. But things were looking much better lately. And she told me they got a bunch of new bait. Worms.

Some call ’em mudworms, or clam worms, or bloodworms. You name it, but they work. We used to use ’em for smelts. Cut ’em up in small pieces, set two or three hooks at a time. Oh boy, them were the days! Three hundred, 400 a night, and great eating. Deep fried or baked, or just coated with meal in a skillet — away you go! I’ve yet to see a fish that wouldn’t treat a bloodworm as an exquisite French delicacy.

She had another product on the shelf that caught my eye right quick: shiner traps. Boy, the fish take to shiners too.

•••

So now it’s Memorial Day, and talk about Lonesome Town. It’s way too early for macks on the Pier, but thanks to the government I got plenty of cash to outfit with.

Carrie says they’re hittin’ schoolies (small stripers) down the marsh in Scarborough. I’ve no transportation to get there, although I could easily take a taxi with the cash Uncle Sam has been fit to provide me with. Yes’sire, a whole $1,200 cash money to use as I wish.

Believe it or not, I heard folks bitchin’! “Well, they give these companies big money, give us more.” I, however, think it’s a grand idea. It keeps money in circulation. Though not always for good, as I’ve noticed from the hard-drug-shooting house down the street. Christ, they’re busy as an overworked ant hill. But even then the money is in circulation. Junkies have to buy shit too.

I think we’re showing some signs of recovery. The esteemed Ms. Mills is lifting some of the constraints and one of my favorite joints is reopened. The Little Feet Library on State Street has taken off the padlock, so to speak. It’s one of those little libraries that homesteaders take care of. I call it a jewel in the sand.

Well, folks, I do believe the fishes that Carrie was talking about haven’t found their way to the State Pier, at least on this day. The wind is driving a mighty hard tide. Goddamn wind’d like to blow me the fuck away.

Here comes the Machigonne with a few folks on ’er. Everyone outfitted with a mask, I notice. Jesus, I can’t seem to get over everybody going around dressed like Jesse James.

I probably look like a pretty pathetic sight: me, my fishin’ pole. Don’t bother me none whatsoever — fuck ’em. A nice feller offered me the bench.

Oh shit, now I see a big sign: State Order Wear Mask. Maybe my Problem List should have said “eyes” also. Oh, and Smoke-Free of course. I’m lucky on that score, quit 15 months back. Drinking too.

Well, I have spent a completely worthless two hours checking the Pier out for you fisher-fans. I got so pissed about it I left my pole as a present for whoever wants it. In fact, it might still be there, right by the bus stop on the State Pier. As for me, I plan on taking that government money and putting it to good use — I’m going back to Johnson’s!